10/25/2004 1:25 AM ET
Schilling guts one out in Game 2
Throws six innings of one-run ball at Cardinals
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
|Curt Schilling squats on the mound during the fifth inning of Game 2 on Sunday night. (Elsa/Getty Images)
BOSTON -- If Curt Schilling made his last start of the season for the Red Sox on Sunday night at Fenway Park, he made the most of it.
The 37-year-old right-hander, blood staining his right stocking, left after six innings of one-run, four-hit ball and defeated the Cardinals, 6-2. Schilling pitched his second consecutive postseason game despite a serious right ankle injury, which has plagued him for the last two weeks.
Before the game, The Associated Press reported that Boston team physician Bill Morgan said the procedure to stitch Schilling's torn tendon to the ankle might be too dangerous to repeat a third time, meaning Schilling could miss his projected Game 6 start next Saturday in Boston if the series goes that far.
"Honestly, we may not be able to do it a third time," Morgan told the AP. "It depends on what his tissues look like."
The Red Sox lead the best-of-seven series, 2-0, with the next three games in St. Louis beginning on Tuesday night. Thus, Schilling having to pitch again might be moot. The Red Sox are trying to win their first World Series championship since 1918, an 86-year drought.
Schilling tore the tendon sheath in his right ankle during Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Angels, and will need surgery to repair the damage after the postseason.
During the procedure, doctors suture Schilling's tendon in place so it doesn't flop over his ankle. Last week, he had three stitches put in on Monday and removed a day later after his victory in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series against the Yankees.
The procedure was duplicated on Saturday, but this time doctors added a fourth stitch that Schilling said affected a nerve, causing him considerable discomfort and pain in his foot. He was treated with painkillers and antibiotics to fight infection and figured when he awoke on Sunday morning he'd never be able to make his scheduled Game 2 start that night.
"I couldn't walk. I couldn't move," he said. "I don't know what happened, but I knew that when I woke up there was a problem. I left for the park, and I told [my wife] that I wasn't going to go out on the mound with the way I felt today. There's no way, and that's kind of when everything just started."
|Curt Schilling became the 17th pitcher to start a World Series game for teams in both leagues with his start for Boston in Game 2. But among those pitchers, Schilling is just one of five to win a World Series start in both leagues:|
|Pitcher||AL Club||NL Club|
|Curt Schilling||BOS (2004)||ARI (2001)|
|Bert Blyleven||MIN (1987)||PIT (1979)|
|Johnny Coombs||PHI (1910)||BRO (1916)|
|Orel Hershiser||CLE ('95, '97)||LA (1988)|
|Tommy John||NYY (1981)||LA (1977, '78)|
Doctors removed the extra stitch, and at that point, Schilling began to regain his mobility. Another round of painkillers allowed him to be able to go out on the mound and make the start.
"We took that stitch out and things started to change almost immediately from that point," he said.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona didn't contradict the words of his team physician, but said Schilling would continue to be evaluated. He hoped Schilling would be healthy and available to pitch again if needed.
"Every time he pitches under these circumstances, he will certainly be evaluated by the medical staff. That's kind of common sense," Francona said. "As far as him pitching again, if his turn comes up, of course. I'd be getting a little ahead of myself. Again, we've kind of taken this one game at a time. If you're asking if I think he's healthy enough, of course."
Schilling wasn't too sure, sounding much like a man who didn't want to embark on the same course of action for the third time. He said immediately after the game that he felt pretty "beat up" and that he even "tweaked a hip flexor a little bit" during the third inning.
"My body is just breaking down on me right now," he said. "It's the first time in my life I think I've felt my age."
Asked if he expected to pitch again, Schilling added: "I don't even want to think about that. In fact, I hope I don't have to pitch again. Maybe they won't need me. The guys will pick me up."
Schilling gutted out his 94-pitch performance, allowing only an unearned run on four hits with one walk and four strikeouts.
The Cardinals had an opportunity to knock him out early, but Scott Rolen hit a solid line drive that was snared by third baseman Bill Mueller after Albert Pujols had doubled with two out in the first inning. In the second, with one out and runners on first and second, again Mueller snared Mike Matheny's line drive and turned it into an unassisted double play.
"I thought early, like the first two or three innings, he wasn't quite as sharp and we put a lot of hard balls in play," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "That's where I thought we deserved better than we got. After that, whenever we even got a smell, he made quality pitches."
Schilling survived despite four infield errors, three by Mueller and the other by second baseman Mark Bellhorn. The Red Sox have made eight errors in two games, the first team to ever do that in the first two games of the World Series.
Consecutive errors by Mueller and Bellhorn kept Schilling on the mound longer than he wanted to be with two out in the sixth. But Reggie Sanders grounded into a force at third and Schilling limped gingerly off the mound to the Red Sox dugout followed by a loud ovation from the crowd of 35,001.
"He looked to me, especially in the sixth, like he was starting to labor a little bit," Francona said. "We could all see that. We didn't give him a lot of help. We kept getting ground balls and just couldn't get the final out."
The injury forced Schilling out of Game 1 of the ALCS against the Yankees after three innings, but the stitching procedure allowed him to start Game 6 in New York, a game in which he pitched seven innings helping the Red Sox come back from a 3-0 deficit to win the series.
Schilling won 21 regular-season games and one each in the ALDS, ALCS and the World Series. With his victory on Sunday night, he became the first pitcher in Major League history to win a World Series game with three different clubs, including the Phillies in 1993 and the Diamondbacks in 2001.
Told that the words "courageous" and "hero" had been most often used to describe his recent run of performances, Schilling responded:
"I'm proud of that. It's better than (being called) a bum or an idiot."
The question now is whether Schilling will be called on again to pitch in the World Series.
|Bill Mueller made three errors in Game 2, tying the Cardinals' Pepper Martin for the most by a third baseman in a nine-inning World Series game. Martin made three errors in a 10-4 Game 4 loss to Detroit on Oct. 6, 1934. Three errors are also the most by a player at any position.
Boston made a record eight errors in the first two games, four in each. The previous high was seven, made by the Detroit Tigers, who split the first two games with Pittsburgh in 1909.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.